Sound / Vibration-activated Neopixel Ring in Ukulele

Hi all… I think I might be getting an Arduino kit for Christmas, and I’m thinking of all the possibilities. I’m a complete and utter noob with electronics, but I’ve programmed for many years and love seeing a blend of form and function. Anyways, that’s me…

The concept: For one of my first non-tutorial projects, I’d like to set up a sound-activated Neopixel 24-LED ring inside my baritone ukulele (baritones are large ukes, almost the size of a small guitar). I’d install the ring inside, velcroed to the rear wall (I’m trying to be as non-destructive as possible). I want it so that the harder I play, the brighter the LEDs glow.

From the soundhole, I’ll run the wires outside and behind the saddle, which is where I intend to velcro the CPU and the 3xAAA power supply, a potentiometer to adjust sensitivity, and tape down the piezo element. I’ll then cover those elements with a velcroed scavenged bridge cover from a guitar or bass, or even attach them to the cover itself.

So… Here are my noob questions:

  1. What Arduino board should I use? The kit comes with the Uno, which is too large for the space, but I think my wife got also me both a Nano and a Micro (they were on my Amazon wishlist). I’ve also looked into the Adafruit Gemma, Trinket, and Flora, and each look like contenders. What would be the deciding factor?

  2. For the actual sound detection, I debated about going either with piezo elements or with a microphone. I ended up going with the piezo. I want it to pick up only when I play, not just from ambient noise, so I thought it would be the best tactic. Was this the right choice? Any pitfalls with tthis approach?

  3. Can the 3xAAA battery pack power this rig sufficiently? I have a pile of Eneloop AAA rechargeables, and I’m assuming it would work, since I’d seen the Neopixel ring powered before by that kind of power. I’m not going to be driving the lights hard at all. Just enough to get a cool glow. I may even put in a diffuser of some kind to smooth it out.

  4. For coding the potentiometer, I’d just have it set a “floor” above which the lights start illuminating?

So, those are my noob questions. How would YOU go about this?

Thank you for the help!

Just stumbled across your questions.
Maybe my last project gives some answers.


You do realize this is a 6.5yr old post?